Memoirs of a nod circa mid 80's

Discussion in 'RR Greatest Threads' started by wet_blobby, Feb 5, 2009.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    Poor old Viccy baby has left me feeling inadequate and unworthy as I never had a flight Sgt on my training team at CTC. As a way of cleansing myself of this unwanted feeling I thought I'd have a go at reminiscing (some what tongue in cheek) about my memories as a Nod..... :twisted:

    I suppose it all began before I'd even laid a foot in CTC...(apart from getting dragged there as a child throughout the 70's by my old fella who was serving in the corps...) It started by going into a recruiting office, oh no, no internet chat rooms for me. Back in those rose coloured days we "talked" or should that be "interfaced" with real people and each of the Armed forces had its very own separate recruiting office.

    So being a decisive young chap I applied to join the Army in one office and the Marines in another, I dont remember to much about the written tests or medical but I presume I did them. I had some fanciful idea of joining the army and being a tankie..I think it was the skull and cross bones capbadge that did it for me...the Scots guards took my fancy as well, at the time I didn't realise how shite they where, didn't fully realise how shite until 1988........ Or I wanted to be a Para, my brother was a para and the series had just been on telly.

    I passed all the tests and the army asked me to go to somewhere near Birmingham I think for a couple of days pre joining up selection course, again the memory is dim but I do remember being in the gym doing vertical jumps to see how far up a wall I could reach....I don't know why either,....and running around a track where I came close to you can accuse me of being many things but a racing snake I'm not....anyway I duly passed and was offered a place as a junior para at pirbright.

    At around the same time I was trying my hand at joining the Corps, the first thing that was grunted at me when I walked into the recruiting office in Plymouth was "Marines eh? come over here, see that bar? well jump up and see how many pull ups you can do"...I dutifully did some pull ups, about 10 I think then hung on for grim death trying to do some more, at this stage I dropped my guts due to straining so was told to "get down you smelly cnut". Anyway it was all good and I was asked to go on the PRC down at Lympstone, again the memory is hazy, I remember firemans carrys on the bottom field and sleeping in the old sickbay by the tarzan course, I must of been quite fcuked because when I was picked up at the end of it and went home I fell asleep before we'd got to the top of telegraph hill. Anyway I'd passed.

    Just to complicate matters the Army offered me a joining up spot about 2 months before the Corps join up date...decision time for a potential recruit.... :?
  2. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    I decided to wait and join the Corps, I cant really say why, I suppose maroon just didn't go with my eyes. I often wonder what happened to my slot in the army, I was told there was only 3 spots available to be a junior para, I don't know whether this was true or they didn't expect potential paras to be able to count past 3 so were afraid of confusing them.

    Anyway the fateful day arrived and I found myself stood on the platform at Exeter St Davids waiting for the connection down to Exmouth, I tried to spot my fellow potential recruits, it wasn't to hard. After all how many spotty 16 year olds hang around train stations at midday dressed like Spandau Ballet rejects?

    We got off at "lympstone Commando" (note to viccy babe, NOT Oakhampton) and were met by a formidable looking Cpl who was our troop DL, lets just call him Cpl mccoat... Cpl mccoat lined us up and of we went marching/bimbling to the induction block, cases dragging behind us. Over the next few hours everyone else arrived, I tried to start up conversations with a few of the lads but within hours we'd all had our hair shorn off (I do believe we had to pay the barbers for this) which meant I couldn't recognise anyone I'd spoken to earlier as we all looked like fresh lambs ready for the butchers chop.

    The Induction block was a huge single story affair with one big room for us all to sleep in and various ablutions etc. We got detailed off in alphabetical order, the lad next to me who inherited the service number 1 up from mine was a jock, he was also one of the very few that made it thru basic training. This was our home for the next few weeks. We got taught lots of wonderful new skills like how to wash your bell end properly and how to shave with a 3 piece razor and a soap stick. We had lectures on corps history every night and the days were filled with being issued kit, getting shown how to iron/wear/fold that kit, we got jabbed to death by the medical staff and we learned how to drill, all the while hiding behind our little orange epaulettes tabs that warned everyone off that we really were at the bottom of the military food chain and didn't have a clue.

    We also learnt the delights of swedish PT, oh how I smile when I think back to doubling on the spot, fingertips on shoulders, elbows back chest out. It was around this time that I realised PTI's talked in a strange strangulated fashion (I think this is due to over exposure of tight white shorts) and formed every sentence around the core phrase "around the world and back again..." But what really confused me was why we got issued two different coloured rugby tops, it wasn't as if we were in different teams, let alone played rugby, I think it was for the amusement of the training team who obviously had a side bet going on to see how many of us turned up in different colours. I think the proudest moment of the first few weeks was when we got issued the troop spitoon, this minging bit of metal had obviously been hanging around the drill shed for a few years and the DL's had been using it as a ashtray/gob bucket for quite a while, we were given the honour of returning it to its former glory and adopting it for the next 30 weeks.

    Unfortunatley we'd come to the end of our two weeks of relative shelter in the induction block we packed our newly issued kit and prepared to move to the main accommodation blocks, minus the 5 or so lads that had the sense to realise that at 16 years old this commando lark just wasn't for them.
  3. :D Brilliant Blobs, keep it going!! :D
  4. So blobbs were you one of the 5 or is there more to this dit? Hope so its near Enid Blyton standard.

  5. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    So we'd packed up our newly issued kit into our newly issued kit bags and settled into our new accommodation, this was it. Real training. The next month or so was a real blur. I learnt why certain recruits marched around Lympstone with a seamans kitbag or a fcuking great shell, unfortunately for me I would have to do one of those chores, but, that's a later story.

    We were subjected to lots of lectures, I believe this is where the Nod gets his name because it was a real struggle to stay awake in a nice hot room after all the PT and early mornings/late nights we'd done, I remember thinking that one of my brothers was on the dole at the time and was receiving more money than me a week for dossing in bed and I was up at 3.30- 4.00am and crawling into my pit at 1ish.

    PT with those funny little men with strange voices continued relentlessly, I remember spending an inordinate amount of time climbing ropes, infact to a casual observer they may have thought we were still getting trained to climb to the top of ships masts to take on the enemies of the Queen. I do remember hanging upside down from a rope, head pointing at the floor below, arms outstretched cruciform style, just clinging on with my ankles wondering as the blood rushed to my head how this was going to help me repel the russian hordes.

    We had met our training team by this stage, our troop Occifer was a rather unfortunate man, it was only with the benefit of hindsight after serving with excellent young occifers in CDO units I realised why the Corps felt able to fight the falklands war without him. (All training staff at that time sported the south Atlantic medal) The troop stripey...did we have one? I have no recollection of one, perhaps he'd perfected the SNCO art of delegation. The section CPLs, I only remember two, a certain old timer who I subsequently realised was a huge piss taker and when I met him a few years later I genuinely liked and respected but at the time was a right cnut and a chap from the SBS (Bergs, I've remembered his name...JC ring any bells?), he came to lympstone to "reaquaint" himself with the mainstream Corps before doing his seniors (which funnily enough I was enemy for).

    We spent lots of time getting to know our personal weapons, I still struggle to fathom how holding an SLR by the pistol grip at arms length until your arms bled helped me shoot straight. The little weapons stances at the bottom of the hill by the assault course and rail line became a second home, I will never forget watching my jock mate (with the number 1 up from mine) hanging off the metal girders (in full fighting order) that acted as roof beams singing "flower of scotland", tears of pain streaming down his face, fcuker did it though....God those beams hurt, really cut into your fingers.

    Training became a series of little goals, the next exercise, the end of the week etc, The troop that was Kings squad visited just after we'd left the induction block. I remember some scouser trying to flog his gillie suit, that was reassuring, these boys were "old sweat nods" and obviously knew a thing or two, if he felt he didn't need that in a CDO unit then the rumours were true, life in a Cdo was one long banyan we only had to stick out the training and the rest was all smiles. I was reassured for the next ten minutes.

    We also started to put what we'd learnt in the lecture rooms into practice in the field. The first exercise was really a bit of a camping expedition , learning how to make a shelter with your poncho and some para cord, then learning again and again after the training team cut it down, why we couldn't use bungys like everyone in a unit did was a mystery. We also learnt that the gorse on the common was razor sharp and trained to hurt nods. One of the most important lessons learnt was at endex you had to be the "grey man" or you had the lovely job of emptying the training teams elson.

    We also got first crack at one of the tests we'd have to pass before we could become a commando. This was the BST (battle swim test) it involved jumping off a diving board with webbing and rifle, swimming the length of the pool and back (see, these PTI's cant say anything without "and back" in it) treading water for two minutes then handing your webbing and rifle over to someone on the side of the pool, you could not touch the side of the pool or you'd fail. Well, if you'd of thought running wasn't my forte you should of seen my swimming, the test had to be done doing breast stroke. Needless to say I couldn't do breaststroke, I slowly sank to the bottom of the pool valiantly doing my best doggy paddle, after scrapping along the bottom for a while a diver hauled me out. No fear, still 25 odd weeks to crack that test.

    So there we were, 6 weeks into training. A troop of 16 year old junior marines desperately trying to do something we weren't ready for physically or emotionally, the army had got the right idea if you ask me, break the youngsters in gradually through junior leaders, not throw a bunch of 16 year olds straight into the adult syllabus. However we weren't the new boys anymore, another junior marine troop had joined and an adult one after them, perhaps we could swagger a bit in their presence and tell war stories.
  6. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    Personally the next month was a killer. If I didn't say that I thought about leaving every single day I'd be telling huge porkies. The attrition rate was huge, I don't know if it was standard or if it was because we where a junior marine troop but the lads left in droves, it seemed every day someone else wrapped. I remember seeing one fella bimbling towards the troop lines and thinking "what the fcuk's he doing in civvies?" only for him to apologies for wrapping but he couldn't hack it anymore, now this was the most Corps pissed bloke I ever knew, what chance the rest of us?

    We'd finally graduated to firing live rounds so spent a few happy days down exmouth way killing figure 11's, I remember looking across at the holiday makers in their caravans whilst running up and down the ranges with my trusty SLR above my head looking forward to my first taste of the fabled pussers "bagrat", at least we managed to grab 20 minutes zzeds in the back of the 4 tonners.

    The troop was starting to "shake out" at this stage and the "characters" started to emerge, the PRC seemed a distant easy dream, something PT wise we could of cracked in a morning then hungered for more. Slowly (painfully slowly according to our training team) we started making the transition from civvies to soldiers. We started (hesitantly at first) using military words in our everyday language and a dutchie burger slipped from being a luxury to a necessity.

    I still played submarines in the swimming pool but scraped further down the pool on the bottom at every attempt. We started to learn the little querks in life like if you spring to attention in front of a PTI your hands are outstretched and flat against your trouser seams and Nod occifers with blue berets don't get saluted unless accompanied by their training team.

    We learnt first aid, the joys of a sucking chest wound will never leave me, just as the joys of the Corps history lessons, why do I remember 1802 when all I wanted to do was go "fcuk you, I need sleep too?

    There's more, but biggest miss blobby needs the computer, I shall try and do more later.
  7. Great stuff so far Blobs and can we call this Blobs Blog or BB for short?
  8. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    Pesky kids......

    We were learning the arts of drill and PT, both needed considerable time spent preparing kit, the robbin [email protected] down the NAAFI knew this and for a period of about 30 weeks I was the proud owner of some of the most expensive brasso, boot polish and white blanco in the country, I reckon only the poor fcukers undergoing infantry training in the army paid more than me due to them needing a lower namet score than us.

    The basics ground on and on, we learnt that to have photos of your girlfriend on the inside of your locker door diverted the Cpls attention whilst doing locker inspections, so before you could say " rons a poof" we had loads of piccys of "muff" inside our lockers and life became easier.

    We became expert at doing the quick change, it was only after I'd finished basic training that I saw a programme for it, I was taken aback a bit, there actually was a structure to it. We'd get marched/doubled/dragged to the accom block and told "It's now 11.28, you will parade back here at 11.30 in full marching order..."
    I was in PT kit.
    We did it.
    We did it alot.

    The banks and various unscrupulous organisations now felt we were fair game and unleashed themselves upon us. There was a clothing company who's name escapes me that led the charge.
  9. Write a book everybody else does.
  10. Bernard's, Jack Blair, Baun's, Moseley & Pounsford... surely not Gieves?
  11. Nice one Blobbs. Although my training was slightly different to yours the taste of a Dutchie burger served up by the tart with the big norks still brings a wry smile!!
  12. Did you?
  13. I wish!! :wink:
  14. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    We'd progressed sufficiently by this stage for our training team to grant us shore leave most weekends, our training team were normal bootnecks and didn't want to work weekends, so, baring exercises we didn't work saturdays. With the wise words of wisdom "your only 16 so no drinking" we were let loose on Exeter and got sh1tefaced. We discovered the joys of "10's" and the "turks head". Funnily enough one of the lads, a jock, who'd wrapped after about week 8 was now a barman in one of the pubs, he'd obviously told his family and friends he was off to become a Marine and couldn't face going home and admitting defeat so stayed down in Devon. I sometimes wonder how long he stayed in jannerland before going home.

    We must of been right cnuts out on the piss, inspected before we went out, there we where in our best rigs, trousers (not jeans) pressed, shoes polished, heads shaven. The women of Exeter (Exmouth was out of bounds, trained ranks only) seemed to like it tho, the trouble was everytime you trapped you'd get the definite feeling that another nod had been there before, especially when for small talk she'd tell you what the next few weeks of training entailed.

    The grind at CTC continued, scran in the galley was a nightmare. The food was great but the queue for it just sucked the will to live out of your body, every day we'd have to join the great snake emerging from the galley and wait in line for over an hour just to get fed. I remember watching the trained ranks bimbling passed the line of nods so they could get their scran, they were like demi-gods to me, what with their green lids and commando flashes, one day, oh one day I might be like them. I gave up on breakfast, just didn't have the time available to stand and queue.

    It must of been around this time that the Corps introduced me to the joys of NBC, this was a subject that in my time was never taken that seriously (lets face it, what are you going to do with a giant mushroom cloud growing from your head?) The only people that approached the subject with gutso were the training team who seemed to delight in running us up and down hills with our respirators on, and, punching us in the guts when in the gas chamber when we took the respirators off to rattle off our name and number, I think this was to ensure we got the full delights of a lung full of C.S.

    All this running around in a charcoal suit culminated in exercise holdfast, we basically got issued a couple of blankets, had to dig a hole and then live in it. Now, I for one never realised you had to de-turf an area the size of a football pitch just to dig a hole about 6 foot long, but I did learn the art of shitting in a plastic bag. The funny thing was in my later years in a unit I only ever "dug in" twice...commandos dont do defensive, we're attack troops, right?....The first time some nice chap from 59 Cdo came along with his little digger and did it for me, the second was in a ploughed field full of carrots...que blobbs re-planting lines of carrots to cover up his digging efforts...Now, I have made many a shell scrape but, please, what was the point of me digging proper holes? not exactly the commando ethos eh.

    We'd finally made it to week 10, lads were still dropping out big time but I'd managed to hang on in there, the surviving 30 of us had just made it to our first leave. I went home and worked as a roofers mate for a fortnight to supplement my meagre wages. But, I'd made it this far.
  15. Ah "10"s, sam's and The deer leap. deep joy was had by all
  16. Keep it up Wet Blobby! Makes for very interesting reading!
  17. Marine Blobinski - In your own time - crack on.

    This is bringing back memories of Saturdays spent at Limpingstone during training for my beloved Corps.

    Morning run the Endurance Course / Regain Tank / 5 rounds then scrub off all equipment, place in drying-room and leg it to Exmouth in time for a couple of pints before the pubs closed.

    Too far to hoof back so into the cinema for a couple of hours sleep before the pubs opened again.

    Walk along the back-row of seats emptying propellant powder into various ash-trays [Yes Corporal -I know that I declared that I have no live-rounds, empty cylinders or clips in my possession BUT you never asked about the powder]. Spend the afternoon fast asleep but occasionally waking up to big flashes and screams as the local jannerocracy stubbed out their fags.

    Wake-up; over to the Deer Leap or Dennies Disco and try and spot the civvies who had no eyebrows and a permanent look of surprise on their faces.

    Happy Daze

    RM :thebirdman:
  18. Fook me, if I didn't know Mr Blobby personally I'd have thought Andy McNab had joined RR. :lol:
    A few comments;
    Orange tabs ?? Hardly required to show new Nods, just measure the length of hair. Next to none? Straight off the platform at Commando Halt in the last week. :D
    The BST :( what a fooker that was, I'd done the Bronze Medallion Life Saving Test for the first time just before joining and I'd thought that was hard, the BST was a nightmare.
    Blankets on Holdfast!! All we got was a bale of straw per section..and each blade of straw was numbered and signed for!
    Different coloured Rugby shirts, oh the fun of running back up stairs with a minute to go when you're the only one in Green. (As an aside Blobbs, did your TT ask for your rugby shirts, at the end of training, as a donation to the 'Local junior rugby team'? Seen off sprogs later received a bill at the handing back of all kit prior to going outside for 'Rugby Shirts RN Sports for the use of x2!! Cnuts.)

    Keep up the good work mate, distract the little Miss Blobbettes with Ice cream laced with vodka. :twisted:
  19. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    We'd all spent our leave basking in the glory of being a Royal Marines recruit and, it was true, most 16 year old fair maidens couldn't give a fcuk. Most of us dutifully arrived back at CTC with heavy hearts to try and make it thru to week 15 and long weekend leave. A few lads simply didn't turn up again, the taste of home comforts was to strong for them to leave behind, a few more wrapped that week. I underwent my daily routine of trying to muster the courage to wrap, I could look out of the window in the grot and watch the train on the other side of the estuary making its way down south and towards where I lived, or used to in another life. Oh how I longed to be on it.

    We must of been getting pretty competent with our trusty SLRs because our training team started to let us play with other weapons. The SMG was a little pig, how people didn't loose their fingers shooting one of them was beyond me, the 9mm was fun, couldn't hit a barn door with it but, that was to come, a few years later it became a good friend.......

    We then got introduced to the GPMG, I like the GPMG. We got so proficient at lifting the top cover and sweeping the tray they even let us fire it. We were even taken somewhere special to have the joy of firing it. they took us to somewhere called HMS Raleigh for a week. Now being simple 16 year old recruits we'd salute anything in a peaked cap with a gold badge, I forget how many times a grizzly old matelot chief said "fcuk off royal, I work for a living" but they suffered us with humour. The one thing that didn't go down with the naval hierarchy was our training team stumbling out of the "harbour fights" at about 2 a.m then kicking us out of bed and doubling us around raleigh bollock naked before our very own SBS Cpl subjected us to "submersion" drills in the water tank by the parade ground. Fcuk me it was cold. We had to slip under the water slowly taking care not to cause any "bubbles, ripples or farting" The training team leered at us from up high on the parade ground, taking turns to p1ss on us. Oh how we struggled to get under the streams of p1ss because they were warm.

    It was around this time that I found out matelots white caps don't microwave very well. I'd also have to wait a couple more years until I realised my goal of firing a belt of 50 rounds in one go. Sadly we went back to CTC and continued the daily grind. We were getting quite good at hanging off ropes in the gym and putting our fingertips on our shoulders, so good infact that gymnastics equipment started to appear in our gym sessions, not only could we hurl ourselves off ropes, we could even run full pelt into wooden horses and try and do whirly things in the air. I continued with my quest of swimming two length of the swimming pool underwater.

    We got taught the subtle art of "survival" or "starving for a week" depending how you look at it. We got ourselves little survival kits made up off rabbit snares, fish hooks etc. As much use as tits on a fish really. We then went out in the field to practice our new found skills, much to my dismay we got searched before the exercise to make sure no little luxuries got smuggled into the field, my ciggys were confiscated. I spent a miserable couple of days until our troop DL "dropped" his tobacco, the world then became good again. Because we had a sneaky beaky in the training team the exercise morphed into a "resistance to interrogation" exercise instead of a "survival" one. There really is only so many times a Nod can be hurled into a river with a hessian sack on his head before a PW realises we don't know that many military secrets, I mean, come on, we're recruits, not exactly entrusted with that many military secrets are we?

    Well I survived "survival" training, I did however question just how high a namet score was needed to become a PW. We then launched ourselves into Drill and unarmed combat because week 15 and parents day was looming. We got taught lots of different ways of inflicting pain, this knowledge was quickly tested on unsuspecting civvies in "10s". Our parents dutifully arrived and we showed off our drill prowess and rolled around on mats kicking the crap out of each other then we got granted leave, end of week 15, half way thru training. I'd made it this far.
  20. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator


    We all came back from leave this time which was a good start. We had to change company's, No longer were we in Portsmouth Coy the "younger" recruit Coy we'd made it to the "big boy" Chatham Coy. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, in the days before the internet one didn't know about every aspect of training and every day was an adventure, I didn't even realise I was in something called Portsmouth Company until I left it.

    Everything stepped up a gear, we'd been taught all the basics and now were expected to wash our bell ends and be able to survive in the field without constantly being prompted. We hardly saw the drill square any more, that saddened me. I'd grown to quiet like the DL's little witticism's and general view on life, I think the Corps chooses men with a good sense of humour to be DL's. Our DL even got given a fresh troop of Nods to play could the Corps do that to us? He was ours and we where his, we managed to get over the shock of being betrayed and cast a cold cynical eye over his new charges, we muttered to ourselves and traded wry smiles in the way of the "old sweat" nod.

    We got introduced to the joys of the bottom field with its assault course, regain tank and of course ropes. We were still apparently training to climb to the top of ships masts but this time in full fighting order with rifles. I did enquire as to why we spent so much time climbing up ropes, I was informed it was to practice coming down them! when I suggested it might be better to start at the top then I was invited to hurl myself into the regain tank. Lots of our PTI's friend would come down to the bottom field and encourage us around the assault course, think of a fox jumping through hedgerows and under fences getting chased by a pack of hounds and you'll get the picture. We also started doing more speed marches, I hated speed marches, undiluted pain, that's what a speed march is to me. You see I'm just not very good at running, not in an arms and legs flapping wildly kind of way but more of a plodding along kind of way. Being built more a kin to Ron Jeremy instead of Ron Hill didn't help either.

    Field exercise became more fun, again we were expected to have learnt the basics so now we started to learn our trade, we got taught tactics and fieldcraft, practised patrolling and putting our war paint on. we also learnt to dab our bodies with some ointment (iodine?) to rid ourselves of the dreaded Woodbury rash, orange coloured nods really was the new look. Our PWs delighted in finding larger and larger clumps of gorse for us to live in, infact they got really good at it.

    I was getting closer to my goal of swimming two lengths of the pool, I could do the treading water bit quite easily and I was now into my second length before "going deep". Them speed marches though, they where a worry.

Share This Page